Elizabeth Spainhour represents media, communications, and technology companies in a variety of regulatory and business matters. She also provides counsel to businesses on key issues involving privacy, digital marketing, and the rapidly changing digital environment. Elizabeth is a Board Certified Specialist in Privacy and Information Security Law from the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization.
With a focus on companies in the media and technology industries, Elizabeth provides comprehensive advice and strategic counsel related to mergers and acquisitions and regulatory matters involving these businesses.
She has significant experience advising television and radio stations as well as digital and online businesses.
Elizabeth’s extensive experience includes representing broadcast media clients before the Federal Communications Commission. She regularly counsels clients on FCC regulatory issues applicable to mass media, including political, EEO, children’s programming, contests and promotions, ownership, licensing and renewals, and online public file requirements. She routinely assists clients with critical business contracts such as network affiliation and retransmission consent agreements.
Elizabeth frequently works with digital media companies and other online businesses to provide advice and strategic counsel on privacy matters of concern. She works with clients to assess data collection and use practices and to craft responsive privacy policies.
Elizabeth is a member of the Privacy and Information Security Law Specialization Committee of the North Carolina State Bar. She was one of the first attorneys in the state to receive this specialization when it launched in 2018. She also served as founding chairperson of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Privacy and Data Security Committee and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US).
- Lead transaction and regulatory counsel to Quincy Media, Inc. in its sale to Gray Television for $925 million (16 television markets).
- Lead counsel to seller of 16-market station group with multiple Big-Four affiliated stations in markets 60 to 175.
- Lead counsel to seller of two Big-Four affiliated television stations in top 100 market.
- Lead counsel to buyer in acquisition of Big-Four affiliated television station in top 75 market.
- Lead counsel to buyer of two television stations in top 150 markets.
- Counsel to buyer of four Big-Four affiliated television stations in divestiture transaction, including representation before the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Lead counsel to buyer of cluster of six radio stations.
- Lead counsel to seller of Top-Six affiliated television station in top 100 market.
- Counsel to seller of two Big-Four affiliated television stations in top 125 markets.
Honors & Recognitions
Selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in Administrative/Regulatory Law and Mergers & Acquisitions Law (2022 & 2023)
Recognized in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly's "Leaders in the Law" (2019)
Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) as a “Rising Star” in Communications (2011-2015)
University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., 2005, with honors; Comments Editor, North Carolina Law Review, 2004-2005; Staff, North Carolina Law Review, 2003-2004
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.A., 2002, Park Fellow
Dartmouth College, B.A., 1995, cum laude
Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), 2015
Certified by the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in Privacy and Information Security Law
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
- Media Mention09.22.2022
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.19.2021
- Media MentionBusiness North Carolina, 11.18.2019
- RecognitionNorth Carolina Lawyers Weekly, 09.09.2019
- Press Release06.25.2019
- Press Release05.23.2019
- Press Release02.25.2019
- Press Release02.22.2019
- Press ReleaseBrooks Pierce Attorney Serving on Team Developing N.C. State Bar Specialization in Privacy and Information Security03.27.2018
- Press Release06.30.2017
- Media MentionElizabeth Spainhour and Charles Marshall Offer Data Privacy Advice to Triangle Business Journal Readers01.05.2016
- Media Mention05.06.2015
- Press Release03.09.2015
- RecognitionNorth Carolina Super Lawyers, 01.20.2015
- Press Release11.09.2014
- Speaking Engagements12.14.2018
- Speaking EngagementsStephen Hartzell and Elizabeth Spainhour Speak on Digital Marketing at Guilford Merchants Association07.14.2015
- Speaking Engagements04.16.2015
- Speaking Engagements03.10.2015
- Client Alert10.11.2019
- Client Alert01.05.2016
- Digital Media and Data Privacy Law Blog, 11.12.2015
- Digital Media and Data Privacy Law Blog, 09.28.2015
- Digital Media and Data Privacy Law Blog, 04.28.2015
- Digital Media and Data Privacy Law Blog, 04.01.2015
- Digital Media and Data Privacy Law Blog, 03.08.2015
- Digital Media and Data Privacy Law Blog, 03.03.2015
- Client Alert06.21.2012
Professional & Civic
Professional & Civic Activities
Member, Umstead Act Unfair Competition Panel (2019-Present)
Co-Chair, Carolinas Chapter, Federal Communications Bar Association (2010-2014)
Member, American Bar Association
Member, North Carolina Bar Association
Member and Past Chair, Privacy and Data Security Committee, North Carolina Bar Association (2017-present)
Secretary, Treasurer, Section Council, Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section, North Carolina Bar Association (2007-2014)
Member, Wake County Bar Association
Volunteer Attorney, Legal Aid of North Carolina Lawyer on the Line Program (2013 - present)
Guardian ad Litem, Wake County, NC (2006-2009)
I am a native of Concord, NC, in the Piedmont area of the state, but I found my home in the Triangle area in 2000. I enjoy being a lawyer because I view it fundamentally as a helping profession. I am proud to work with broadcasters and the news media in particular because of the important role they play in our democracy. When I’m not working with clients, I like to spend time with family and friends and on foot outdoors in the mountains, on the coast, or on Raleigh’s greenway system.